The Shakespeare Society Watch

Tyler Durden
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#301
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#301
Anyone read Will in the World by Stephen Greenblatt. It's quite an interesting historicist approach and makes quite a convincing case for Shakespeare having authored the works we associate with the man of that name (although this isn't the book's main aim). A lot of references throughout the play - to glove-making for instance - seem to have been picked up from formative experiences.
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Acaila
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#302
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#302
I'm getting sucked into the Marlowe conspiracy I must admit. Just gone and ordered a book off Amazon, "The Reckoning" by Charles Nicholl, that my tutor seems to be getting commission on as half my year are reading it!
Would be so cool if Marlowe hadn't died but had carried on writing plays in Italy. That said I don't think Shakespeare's plays were written by Marlowe. He may have collaborated on them more than is suggested, but in those days, there wasn't the thought of copyright or anything. Pretty much no medeival plays are anything other than Anon. and that still hadn't worn off by the Renaissance.

And speaking of Amazon, the Shakespeare books I ordered arrived at my parents and not at uni :mad: Grrrrrrr!
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Leo-Marcus
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#303
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#303
Apologies all round if I'm interrupting erudite conversation, but was wondering on the opinions of yourselves as regards Isabella from Measure for Measure. I'm studying it for A-level, and although this isn't vastly important, I'm having trouble myself in deciding whether I like her or not. I really can't believe she uses so much innuendo in ignorance.
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Tyler Durden
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#304
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#304
I dislike her quite strongly. She's very repressed (to get a bit Freudian). She is also entirely callous about her brother's impending death. Oh and hypocritical - she is quite willing to damn Marianna's soul as long as she protects her own. What do you make of the ending? Does she marry the duke or non? I would say not probably. But obviously it's left open. She's an interesting character; if you can get hold of it there's an interesting M4M chapter which focusses on her in Shakespeare's Language by Frank Kermode (I mentioned it in a previous post I think).
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Leo-Marcus
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#305
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Personally, I'm pretty sure she marries the duke, and then has it off with all the other male characters. She is evidently overtly sexual - her language is mainly innuendo and double entendre. Whether intentional or not, I think this suggests an overtly sexual personality, which she is attempting to hide during the play (in line with the theme of duplicity and "seeming"). Why she does this, however, puzzles me. I suppose presenting herself as chaste and virtuous is the only way to control Angelo.

PS Thanks for the tip of the book. I shall hunt it down.
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Angelil
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#306
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#306
Frank Kermode is a GOD
Another question: has anyone ever seen Henry IV Part 1 in performance? Is it funnier on the stage than it is on the page?
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last_train
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#307
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#307
Frank Kermode is a GOD
Another question: has anyone ever seen Henry IV Part 1 in performance? Is it funnier on the stage than it is on the page?
I saw the National Theatre production in the summer. I thought it was very funny, although I did laugh when I read it. I reckon it definitely does work better on the stage, especially when Falstaff and Hal swap roles in the tavern scene and at the end when Falstaff pretends to be dead.
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Che!
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#308
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#308
(Original post by Leo-Marcus)
Apologies all round if I'm interrupting erudite conversation, but was wondering on the opinions of yourselves as regards Isabella from Measure for Measure. I'm studying it for A-level, and although this isn't vastly important, I'm having trouble myself in deciding whether I like her or not. I really can't believe she uses so much innuendo in ignorance.
Just some notes I made for a lecture I gave on "Measure for Measure and the Gospels":

She is the opposite extreme: Lucio’s foil.

She is more saintly than Angelo, and his saintliness goes deeper; it is more potent than his.

When we first meet Isabella, she is about to enter the life of a nun. She wishes “A more strict restraint upon the sisterhood, the votarists of Saint Clare”

Lucio respects Isabella: he even takes on a serious tone when speaking with her. However, Lucio’s warmth and humanity sheds light upon Isabella’s self-centred saintliness.

Language is contrasted:

Lucio: “Your brother and his lover have embraced: As those that feed grow full as blossoming time…”

Isabella: “I wish for…strict restraint”

Isabella lacks human feeling. Even when pleading for he brother’s life, she must be urged on by Lucio.

We begin to feel that Isabella has no real affection for Claudio; that she has stifled all human love in the pursuit of sanctity.

“Then, Isabel, live chaste, and brother die.
More than our brother is our chastity”

Thanks to such Shakespearian satire, we now know Isabella well…

Isabella’s fall, then, is deeper than Angelo’s. She is not angry with Claudio when he asks her to give up her chastity: she is more infuriated with herself – Saints should not behave in such a way: lying and backstabbing.

It is significant that Isabella readily involves Marianna in the love affair…

Confronted by Marianna’s warm, forgiving, human love, Isabella shows a sweet, softening humanity: “I partly think, / A due sincerity governed his deeds/ ‘Till he did look on me.”

Isabella implores Angelo’s saviour, her wrongdoer. Perhaps Angelo’s strong passion has itself moved her, thawing her ice-cold pride.

Hope it helps

Che!
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Madelyn
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#309
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#309
I kind of assumed that Isabella's overtly sexual language was due to her repression of her sexuality, though she isn't aware of this. If I were trying to reclaim Shakespeare as a sort of proto-feminist, I might argue that this reflected society's refusal to acknowledge women as sexual beings, rather than simply as sexual objects. And this repression is evident in her decision to join the Poor Clares and her desire for stricter restraints upon the order, which is mirrored by Angelo's evident arousal at her sado-masochistic language ("Th'impression of keen whips I'd wear as rubies", etc.). I always thought she and Angelo would make a good couple.
I was thinking the other day about the way she's treated by the other characters - she's mostly characterised (caricatured?) as a saint: Angelo describes her as such ("Oh cunning enemy that, to catch a saint, with saints dost bait thy hook") and Claudio kind of expects her to sacrifice her chastity for him. Then there's that really odd line from Lucio, about how he holds her as "a thing enskied and sainted" - could that perhaps be parodying this attitude? And then that's part of the whole Shakespeare/Duke trying to make characters more human thing, like forcing Angelo to recognise that "An Angelo for Claudio, death for death" doesn't work - Isabella is not allowed to be this perfect saintly creature, she must be flawed and human like the rest of us, and the audience is made aware of the necessity of her humanity by the jarring nature of Lucio's sentiment. Does that make any sense at all?
As for her marrying the Duke, that's another thing with which I've always had a problem. Generally, it seems to have been assumed that she does - obviously, most literary criticism until fairly recently has been done by men, so giving women voices and opinions of their own wasn't really considered. And since M for M is a notoriously corrupt text, she could well have had a couple of lines accepting the Duke which we've subsequently lost, and her refusing him would pretty much destroy the already uneasy comic harmony of the ending. But I'd prefer her not to. The Duke's adoption of Angelo's desire for her shows that he has learnt nothing: he echoes Angelo's stern inflexibility in insisting that Angelo can take his power and wear his robes and no one will notice the difference ("Lent him our terror, dress'd him with our love", etc.), which is also evident in the whole "An Angelo for Claudio" speech - he apparently sees no difference between Angelo's situation and Claudio's, and he gives them the same 'punishment' (threat of death, reprieve, wife). So he has failed to comprehend one of the key messages of the play - that people are individuals. As he retrieves the reins of government from Angelo, he also takes over Angelo's desire for Isabella, reinforcing his delusion that people are interchangeable in this way. It also reduces Isabella to the status of an object, rather than a person in her own right, much as Angelo tries to reduce her to nothing more than an object of male sexuality ("Be that you are/That is, a woman...show it now/By putting on the destin'd livery").
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blondemoment
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#310
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#310
Hello? Can i join your society??

I have a thought on Isabella, well several actually..... [ if mentioned previously i'm sorry]

It goes a little something like this.....

My first question is how are plays written? I think they aren't written in narration, as there is no omniscient voice that provides the audience with truths of character. All that the audience gathers of a character and their previous actions comes from other character's opinions.
Another point I think I should say is that I think that Isabella and Angelo are one and the same to the extent that they both seek “restrictions” and rules in their lives. For Isabella it is the church who controls her and for Angelo the law, for he states that his actions are carried out involuntarily as "it is the law not i condemn your brother". Personally I think that they seek redemption from responsibility.
Anyway, understanding that plays are written by giving the audience opinions not fact of character, I think that Shakespeare, like other playwrights, set up images and perceptions of characters, in the audience’s mind, whom through the process of the play must have their "metel" of character and disposition tested. I believe this as drama- that it is all about character development and as a result I see plays like a courtroom where opinionated evidence is stated and accumulated in a climax where the jury [audience] must come to some conclusion [about the ‘measure’ of the character presented].
For me if you accept this you accept that Isabella and Angelo were never meant to be these pure and “sainted” characters that were painted in the opening scenes. For to create an entertainment factor in the drama their flaws must be shown [??]. I think perhaps my last sentence could be construed as a very bad generalisation however the undeniable theme of the New testament and the sermon on the mount indicates that above anything me the "measure" of character and social mores is aim of this play.
However i think that the audience's dislike for Isabel and Angelo is exacerbated by the fact that they are initially shown to be "very snow broth" and impervious to sin. When they are shown to be not so pure [Angelo especially] the understanding of these characters’ weaknesses in the audience’s mind creates them as something worse, as they thought they were once so pious. Less convolutedly, they have fallen further than any other characters in the moral scale so they seem worse. I always feel that if Isabella came out and said “Er no I’m not going to fulfil Angelo’s request because I’m A) scared B) don’t care for my brother enough C) think Claudio deserves it….etc” [Obviously in Shakespearean speak!] rather than hide behind “more than my brother is my chastity” and her religious zealousness, that I’d respect her more for making a personal decision and not hiding behind the shield of religion.
For me she is someone who like to win, who finds they invariably win, but like the insurance of some higher authority if it all goes wrong. [Anyway what is religion if it isn’t some form of insurance, as is the law…… (sorry I don’t mean to offendJ)……..] I think that she is also someone who betrays her previous action by doing erroneous things [in correlation to her previous satement of opinion etc] such as begging for Angelo's life. For me she's in the game for personal gain [of poeple's opinions] and will do anything to secure it.
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Leo-Marcus
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#311
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#311
Angelo and Isabella would definitely make a good couple. If any of you have read Clamorous Voices, Juliet Stevenson writes (in rather excited thespianic speech) about playing the part of Isabella. As she says, Angelo and Isabella have been copulating across the text since they first met. Notice the way that they complete each others metre - even when Angelo says "I will not do't" he leaves the metre open, suggesting that intentionally or subconsciously he is prepared to here Isabella's argument, or, as I believe, is simply manipulating his dialogue so that she tries harder. Furthermore, when Angelo (in IIii) demands the "treasures" of Isabella's body, she takes this word and explores it herself, using very sensual language and references to rubies. This call and response, and the dynamic in the dominance of their dialogue, I think is definitely indicative that they are unavoidably attracted to each other.
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blondemoment
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#312
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the thing i like most about this play is that you can feasibly walk away from it and dislike [or perhaps see the negatives of /or disagree morally with] every character. this is not a play where you have to go looking for their faults instead they run up to you and greet you with a vigorous handshake.

to me Shakespeare [or whoever] wrote everything for a reason. [perhaps not Marianna's awful song tho...]. Therefore i think that Isabella's suggetsive language is there for a reason, and i can't quite see it working with her innocence and ignorance. She's not ignorant she 'hath art and well she can persuade' every thing for her own benefit. i agree with Leo-marcus, there is comething sexual between them. Maybe debate is her way of finding that sort of pleasure without risking damage, like i said before she like to hide behind rules and structures, and what is debate if not a structure of opposing opinions?? She scared and so's Angelo, they're scared of being human.
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Flying Pythonette
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#313
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#313
Is it just me or is 'Much Ado About Nothing' the best out of all of Shakespeares comedies? I think that it probably is nowadays as the character of Beatrice is no longer 'misunderstood' if that makes sense, she's no longer the shocking and I guess, disrespectful character she would of been seen as in Shakespeares time. Because societies values, etc, have changed, Beatrice is a woman many can identify with and therefore love her sarcastic, witty and 'daring' caracteristics. Just me? :s:
If anyone gets the chance, check out Kenneth Branaghs 1993 version - his Benedict and Emma Thonpsons Beatrice light up the screen - absolutly brilliant!
Do I sound a tad sad???? lol
Jess xxx
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blondemoment
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#314
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#314
Seen it, love it, especially the bit by the fountain.

i like beatrice she runs rings around ppl. Shakespeare was a man writing in the wrong century.....tho i suppose thats a part of what made him so famous
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Flying Pythonette
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#315
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#315
(Original post by blondemoment)
Seen it, love it, especially the bit by the fountain.

i like beatrice she runs rings around ppl. Shakespeare was a man writing in the wrong century.....tho i suppose thats a part of what made him so famous
The bit by the fountain? Do you mean the bit where they trick both Beatrice and Benedick? Jess xxx
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blondemoment
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#316
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#316
yeah, i'm bit vague it was a while ago. i seem to remember lauging then, i mean the fountain in the Kenneth B movie not the actual play.
bit removed from shakespeare......
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Emmy18
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#317
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#317
wow. u guys really like Shakespeare. I personally think he's overrated and that his contempories (Spenser, Marlowe, Webster) were just as good if not better. AND I think that a lot of his plays (Titus Andronicus for example) are just plain BAD. Good poet tho- Venus and Adonis= AMAZING!Perhaps I'm in the wrong course if i dont like shakespeare lol.
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Flying Pythonette
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#318
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#318
(Original post by Emmy18)
wow. u guys really like Shakespeare. I personally think he's overrated and that his contempories (Spenser, Marlowe, Webster) were just as good if not better. AND I think that a lot of his plays (Titus Andronicus for example) are just plain BAD. Good poet tho- Venus and Adonis= AMAZING!Perhaps I'm in the wrong course if i dont like shakespeare lol.
Wow - Saying Shakespeare is overrated on the shakespeare society web page??? Are you quite out of yo mind you crazy woman? lol, I'm just kidding, freedom of speech and all that jazz. You have ur say

I love shakespeare but I think ur right, sometimes it does seem like shakespeares been pimped up(!) to seem like he's better then a lot of other playwrites but consider this - if translated into modern day he would most probably be the number 1 author a LOT and for a v.long time -I mean, his comedies especially are just damn good. Plus films such as '10 things I hate about you' and 'O' were huge hits and they came from shakespeare plays.

Big up to my mate shakey-baby! :cheers:

lol, Jess xxx
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blondemoment
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#319
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#319
i have this theary......

i like writing, and when i write of course there is rhyme and reason why i've done things, but when i give it to somebody to look over they find all these hidden messages that I didn't know where there, which are all perfectly plausible except i hadn't intended to purposely create them. Art's the same.

Not that i'm suggesting that i'm anywhere as near as good as any author let alone Shakespeare, but you wonder how much he planned and how much is just generations of people finding hidden messages.......over analysing, not that i think you ever can but......

IM DISSING HIM, but y'wonder......
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Angelil
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#320
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#320
(Original post by Emmy18)
wow. u guys really like Shakespeare. I personally think he's overrated and that his contempories (Spenser, Marlowe, Webster) were just as good if not better. AND I think that a lot of his plays (Titus Andronicus for example) are just plain BAD. Good poet tho- Venus and Adonis= AMAZING!Perhaps I'm in the wrong course if i dont like shakespeare lol.
lol, talk about throwing yourself to the lions!
OK, fair do's for comparing Shakespeare to his contemporaries, but really...Marlowe and Spenser are not as good. (Can't speak for Webster, haven't studied him yet...give me a couple of weeks!) Spenser is just long-winded, and if we're comparing Shakespeare and Marlowe, take The Merchant of Venice and the Jew of Malta as an example. Both plays use the exact same material, but Shakespeare's version is the one that is remembered because he actually did something with it. The Jew of Malta, on the other hand, is just unbelievably one-dimensional.
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